Report by Trainer Wendy


“A journey of thousand miles starts with one step…”
Being recruited as ToT in September, I appreciated the fruitful training by GP which was the foundation that took me through the first year of TAK. It was wonderful introducing this project to the young participants, our main aim was to be ambassadors of change by fighting stigma and sensitizing other peers and community at large on zero new HIV infections.
I started by getting to know their expectations from the program. They gave different ideas touching both their social, economic and personal lives. We carried a survey using a questionnaires to test what they think and know.
I introduced the topics and activities to be covered during our one year stay in the partner schools i.e. St. Christine School and Kango Primary School.
We covered the following topics:
• Self- confidence
• Leadership
• Adolescence stage
• Human rights; based our study on Rights of children
• Stress and stress management
• Gender equality and gender based violence
• Culture and cultural practices
• Child abuse
• Sex and sex education{ sexual orientation, healthy and unhealthy relationships, abstinence and delayed sex, sexual transmitted infections and finally sexual violence}
• HIV and AIDS
• Stigma and discrimination
Activities during these sessions include:
• Classroom and round table sitting arrangements
• Outdoor classes
• Life stories and experiences
• Songs and dance
• Taking of short notes
• Questions and responses
• Drawing of pictures relevant to the topic of discussion

We later implemented the kitchen gardening and poultry project. The participants got training from Julius who is an expert on food value addition this made it easier for them to effectively take care of the chicken.
They made the vegetable nursery beds themselves and learnt to plant seeds in them and also do a transplant. Each participant received two seedlings from the Karopa’s tree nursery project and they planted at home.
Home visits came almost at the last and we managed to visit a number of homes and most of the participants got tested and even some parents.

It has been very interesting and enjoyable being in this school. All the teaching staff right from the head teacher welcomed the project and fully took part in most of the implementations.
They gave the easiest and enough time for meet- ups and could not interfere with any participant during this time. This gave great morale to the participants. They kept consulting every issue concerning the project and this was an encouragement.
Both the kitchen gardening and poultry is a success in Kang’o and they selected a big classroom for the poultry with a medium chicken house built. The room is always clean.
They gave me the best cooperation that everybody would wish to get. Kudos! Kang’o.

Challenges at Kang’o
Language was an issue but I did most of my teachings in Luo for them to understand.
At first almost all of them could not talk but at the end quite a number became free to share.
I had one girl who felt odd amongst her fellow because she had a child but with time she accepted her status and opened up to the entire class that she had a one year old baby boy.
Again we had one transfer from the school to another but we got a replacement.
Distance also was a challenge with very poor roads that you could not risk taking a motorbike.
I joined St Christine after resignation of one of the TOTs. They were far much behind compared to other schools. The participant showed a great cooperation and a heart to learn every day.
This was an interesting jovial, bright and energetic group. Almost all of them did not show any form of shyness but they freely share what they feel and know.
They were very interested in the project and could ask very many questions during the sessions. At the end some were able to share very sensitive stories and they went as far as sharing the knowledge to their fellow classmates who are not in the project.
The patron Mr. Augustine also did his best to ensure things are put in place.

Challenges at St Christine
Recruitment in St Christine was not well done as almost ¾ of the participants were candidates. They were always so busy and this gave hard time for meet – up
Not all the teaching fraternity here was involved in the program. Some teachers could not understand and even go as far as not giving time for the classes
I faced some frustrating sessions where participants are taken out of the session even after ten minutes to attend to other classes. This killed their morale and even some thought of leaving.
Sometimes the candidates were locked outside for remedial classes because they were late and I was forced sometimes to go and apologize for on their behalf.
I had two participants who transferred to other schools and one who decided to leave claiming to have lost interest.
We agreed on the appropriate day and time but I could not understand what the problem was. Setting the kitchen gardening project wasn’t easy as the participants couldn’t get time to be in the farm. I think all these challenges will help us to prepare well for the next year.
General challenges as a TOT
Distance and poor roads made it difficult to be in one of my schools more so during extreme weather. We lacked protective clothes like, gumboots, umbrellas and a portion of medical cover or first aid procedures in case of mirror accidents.
The secondary target group, that is; families to the participants was not fully involved. This is because there was no project that was directly touching them and this made them to keep a distance and made communications non effective.
The age bracket defined in the project could not be realized as most of the participants were between 13yrs to 16yrs
Our projects; poultry, kitchen gardening and tree nursery delayed so much. This was because the schools were slow to prepare the necessary requirements and the purchase of the seeds also delayed.
A lot of questions and complains came up on the sustainability of the poultry project. There was no clear communication on how the chicken will be taken care for in terms of medication and feeding. Till now they still don’t understand how the laying and the hatching process will be done to realize continuous productivity.
The TAK office assumed that all TOTs must be living around the office of in the office and so they decided to just provide fare from the office to school not considering that some of us might be coming far away. We had to sacrifice the little we got as allowance on transport and airtime if in case we want to communicate to both patrons and parents.
I got the chance to take Othoro ambassadors for an Aids day and it was a great experience both to the organization and the participants themselves.
It was an involving year with a good start. We have learnt a lot by socializing with these young adults. I would not wish the projects in the founders’ schools to die. We should put strategies on how to continue bearing fruits in these schools by continuous support, monitoring and even visits.
To all who made this year a success….thumbs up! Forum syd, FoK, Karopa, thanks for the cooperation. Shoulders high to my fellow TOTs and the Field Officer for the team spirit.
Am proud of myself too for being part of the implementers of the first year TAK program. Am still ready to work tirelessly until our goal of ‘zero new HIV infection’ and ‘No stigma and discrimination’ is achieved.

Mercy Wendy
St. Christine School and Kango School

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